Rubbish payment deadline looming

ONLY 50% of the Waterford County Council’s 11,000 customers have paid the controversial new annual flat charge of €150 for refuse collection ahead of tomorrow’s deadline.

Council officials yesterday warned that from next Monday households who haven’t paid won’t have their refuse collected.

The man who introduced the charge, county manager Ray O’Dwyer yesterday said the charge was essential as the local authority’s current debit balance stands at €7.3 million.

“We lost money on the refuse collection service last year and previous years, and we will lose on it again this year unless every household pays the €150 charge,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

Responding to criticism from Cllr Billy Kyne for failing to allow a waiver system for contributory old age pensioners living alone, the manager said that to do so would cost €40,000, which the council hadn’t provided for.

Mr O’Dwyer warned future refuse collection is now in jeopardy.

“If we have enough paying customers we will continue to provide what is a very good service, but if we don’t then we will have to discontinue it. It is up to the people of the county to decide whether or not they want that service.”

However, Cllrs Nora Flynn and James Tobin voiced serious concerns about private companies moving in and taking over hitherto county council customers.

They warned that these private companies won’t provide the service in many rural areas unlike the local authority, and if the council is forced out of the business the rural communities will then be abandoned altogether.

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